College-wide Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Forum

The College-wide Cultural Diversity and Inclusion forum series is an expansion of the highly successful Western New York student survey project, coined the Buffalo Project, co-facilitated by Dr. Rhianna C. Rogers, associate professor at SUNY Empire State College. The mission of the Buffalo Project is to develop action-based diversity initiatives that focus on utilizing participant observations of culture to inform solution-making efforts in college and community environments. For 10 years, this project has developed programming to build community across the college and beyond, diversity forums is one such programmatic change adopted from the Buffalo Project to support inclusion on campus.

For information about the Buffalo Project and the prior College-wide Cultural Diversity and Inclusion forums, please see the following links:

Empire State College's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website has information on many policies and programs offered.

Upcoming Forums

Digital Discrimination

A discussion about ‘Digital Discrimination’ and the many promises and perils of algorithms, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how these platforms must be analyzed for bias against Blacks in marketing decisions affecting banking, real estate, health and auto financing.This interview format discussion will focus on discriminatory practices and biases in the marketplace fueled by AI.

Thursday, April 22 from noon to 1 pm (EST)

Presenter Bios

Dr. Jerome Williams

Dr. Williams is a Distinguished Professor and the Prudential Chair in Business (Marketing Department), and Fellow of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (Management and Global Business Department) in the Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick (RBS). He formerly served as Rutgers-Newark Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor from 2015-2019. He currently serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.

In 2014 he was inducted into the PhD Project Hall of Fame for his efforts in promoting greater faculty diversity in schools of business. He has received three lifetime achievement career awards from professional organizations because of his long-term commitment to advertising ethics and social responsibility.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in Marketing, with a minor in Social Psychology. He also has an M.S. degree from Union College and a B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Yla Eason

Professor Yla is an award-winning entrepreneur who is largely credited with pioneering the ethnic toy market at mass market stores. Aa an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at Rutgers University, her focus is Business Communications and Marketing.

She received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Fitchburg State University. She has earned numerous awards and honors for founding and growing to $5 million Olmec Toys, a multicultural toy company, including an honorary Ph.D. from Bloomfield College; The Business Enterprise Trust Award from President Bill Clinton in 1996.

She was the former Director of Learning and Development for R/GA, a digital advertising agency and for the Center for Excellence in Advertising at Howard University. She previously was a Lecturer at the Business School at Medgar Evers College, City University of New York (CUNY), She also taught e-Commerce for CUNYs School of Professional Studies

Videos from Previous Forums

6th Annual Diversity Forum (2019): How Creative Thinking Sets the Environment for Diversity and Innovation

By Ms. Karina Loera-Barcenas, SUNY Buffalo State Small Business Development Center Business Advisor


5th Annual Diversity Forum: Microaggressions in Everyday Life


4th Annual Diversity Forum: Visible and Invisible Disabilities


3rd Annual Diversity Forum: American Politics and Race


2nd Annual Diversity Forum: Cultural Inclusion and Diversity


1st Annual Diversity Forum: Race and Policing